Longtime reader, first time writer. I love reading your stuff, well worthwhile.
My query is about fuel additives, after-market specifically. I have used the Lucas Oil products and found them to produce a mile or two better MPG in my 94 D21 four banger. (Note: that’s a Nissan Hardbody – SM)
What is your take on additives? Have you found any others to be of significant value to the user/user’s vehicle?
Great question, with a pretty short answer: additives are usually useless in cars that are well maintained. That’s in general. Some people swear by Lucas additives, but I am not sure of their benefit over consistent usage of synthetic fluids over the course of a vehicle’s life. And that’s worth keeping in mind, no matter how “special” you feel your circumstances may be. Can the magic bottles really be that special in something as honest and durable as a 1990s Nissan truck? Your case seems pretty clear cut.
Then again, fuel system additives are one exception, they sometimes do a great job at removing gunk (especially with varnish/corrosion/deposits that supposedly occur with E10 gas) in the fuel system, the tiny screens in the fuel injectors in particular. I haven’t personally experienced a benefit from fuel injector cleaner, but I do occasionally use it as preventative maintenance on my old cars in the land of E10 at the gas pumps. But a mile or two better MPGs? That’s pretty impressive.
That said, make sure to change your fuel filter as per manufacturer recommendations. Or sooner. That’s often a bigger problem for your fuel system.
Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:
My only additive of recommendation is Seafoam. Seafoam seems to fix everything…in motors with a lot of miles and a lot of carbon buildup. Sure, it makes a colossal mess while de-carboning the upper half of a motor, but it often improves throttle response, fuel economy and sometimes even emissions. After it increases your carbon footprint exponentially, ‘natch. This stuff is also supposedly a good fuel system cleaner, oil gunk remover and probably helps men with their Viagra-related concerns. (kidding!)
Not that I recommend everyone spend the $8 or so to try it out on your motor, but if you start running out of options after a proper tune-up on your old hooptie fails to give you satisfaction…give it a shot.
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